TORONTO - The mentally ill occupy the streets of Toronto. They sleep there. They beg. They buy drugs. They rave, cry out in pain and frighten people. They pass through drop-ins, shelters, jails and the emergency wards but somehow almost always wind up back on the same little patch of urban territory.

Seeds of Hope Foundation executive director Kimberly Curry thought there must be something we can do for homeless, schizophrenic women. Sr. Susan Moran, co-founder of Out of the Cold program almost 25 years ago, had the same thought. She never thought giving people a mattress in a church basement one night a week fulfilled our Christian duty.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

Students, staff and special guest Harmony Brown came together on March 22 at Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School to raise awareness about an often neglected issue — teen depression.

“There is a fear with admitting you have a mental illness,” Brown said to about 100 attendees.

Brown told the students that her battle with depression began at age nine, when physical abuse at home ended her “picturesque” early childhood.

“It was at that age that I began to have suicidal thoughts,” said Brown, now 36. “What I knew was I was in a terrible place and I wanted out. At nine there didn’t seem like there was a lot of other options.” 

Published in Education

Jerome is a young man with post-traumatic stress disorder who attempts to cope by self-medicating with marijuana. Diana is suffering from depression and has low self-esteem. And Melanie is a youth caregiver whose mother has schizophrenia.

These are a few of the characters in performances by Elevated Grounds, an organization that uses song, dance, drama, music and spoken word to educate and bust the stigma surrounding mental health.

“We are hoping to show the stresses and issues that affect mental health are present in the everyday life of young people and the important thing is to become aware of these stresses and seek help,” said Leyland Gudge, Elevated Grounds’ program manager, mentor and elder.

Published in Youth Speak News
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